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     The third major influence on Gothard was Keswick (pronounced “KEZ-ick”) teaching.  Also known as Victorious Life, or Higher Life teaching, this school of thought started with good intentions, but departs significantly from traditional conservative Protestantism.  For one thing, it adopts a modified form of Finney’s sinless perfection teaching.  Instead of talking about “absolute perfection” it talks about “absolute surrender.”  The result, however, is often sadly the same: a bunch of self-righteous people who think they’ve “arrived” spiritually.

    Keswick influence over Gothard’s teaching is especially obvious in his attitude toward “average Christians.”  The Keswick movement has always complained about “the low spiritual level” of the “average Christian.”  Of course, once you had a Keswick-style breakthrough into the “Victorious Christian Life,” you became part of the elite crowd and no longer had to worry about being considered “average.”  While there are a lot of nice Christians within the Keswick movement, the tendency of their teachings to produce an elitist attitude among a significant portion of followers has always been a problem.
    In keeping with this Keswick tendency, Gothard characterizes the “average Christian” as “Best of the worst, worst of the best.  Nauseating to God.”  Gothard doesn’t talk much about a “breakthrough” or “second blessing” experience, because it has become unpopular in the circles in which he travels.  So instead of being someone who fails to achieve such an experience, in Gothardism the “average Christian” becomes someone who fails to conform to Gothard’s principles.